In 1521 – Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Leo X as a result of Luther not retracting what the Church saw as 41 errors in this 95 Theses written in 1517. Two of the errors might have been used to give Luther a “taste of his own medicine” (so to speak) which were:
- Excommunications are only external penalties and they do not deprive man of the common spiritual prayers of the Church.
- Christians must be taught to cherish excommunications rather than to fear them.
President Monson states why this act is important to the Church of Jesus Christ:
“The reformers were pioneers, blazing wilderness trails in a desperate search for those lost points of reference which, they felt, when found would lead mankind back to the truth Jesus taught.
“John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, Jan Hus, Zwingli, Knox, Calvin, and Tyndale all pioneered the period of the Reformation. Significant was the declaration of Tyndale to his critics: ‘I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of the scripture than thou doest’ [see Roger Hillas, “The History of the Book,” Washington Post, Apr. 10, 1996].
“Such were the teachings and lives of the great reformers. Their deeds were heroic, their contributions many, their sacrifices great—but they did not restore the gospel of Jesus Christ.” —President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, “They Showed the Way,” Ensign, May 1997, 51.
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